In SummaryPresident Kikwete said Tanzania will never quit the East African Community and will do everything in its power to ensure it survives and prospers
Dar es Salaam. President Jakaya Kikwete’s speech delivered in Parliament on Thursday about the fate of the East African Community drew mixed reactions, with Ugandan authorities yesterday defending the position adopted by the ‘coalition of the willing’.
Uganda’s government spokesman, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said Tanzania’s position was not new and added that the country was interested in defending its land and jobs.
Separately, the European Union welcomed Tanzania’s pledge to end the recent wrangling and counselled that integrations require patience, commitment and goodwill to implement.
Locally, in a rare reaction, both the opposition and ruling party MPs praised President Kikwete’s speech.
In an email interview with The Citizen on Saturday yesterday, Mr Opondo accused Tanzania of playing to domestic politics and was hesitant because of fears that Ugandans and Kenyans would come and grab its land and jobs.
“Tanzania should not use its internal weaknesses and failures and blame everything on Uganda and Kenya,” he said.
He said Tanzania should not be quick to point fingers because it was also doing more or less the same with her own chosen path.
“Tanzania is discussing with DRC to construct a pipeline, is Uganda or Kenya complaining?” Is there anything or a clause that prevents Uganda and Kenya to move forward if one member is dragging its feet?”
In his speech, President Kikwete said two or more countries can meet over bilateral or trilateral issues but not on issues that are under the EAC protocols or those that have not been decided upon in the EAC Summit meetings.
The head of delegation of the European Union to Tanzania, Mr Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, said the subject was an internal matter among EAC partner states and expressed confidence that the five members will attach great value to regional integration.
“President Kikwete, for his part, affirmed as much and this was an important signal to the region and to the people of Tanzania, who have much to gain from integration. No one wants to give up the achievements and ignore the potential,” he said.
“As EU, we’re very well aware that an ambitious integration project requires much discussion and debate but in the EU we have witnessed, especially during recent years when Europe has been affected by an economic and monetary crisis, that in difficult times, it is possible and necessary to continue deepening the integration project.”
SOURCE: THE CITIZEN
SOURCE: THE CITIZEN